History

THE earliest explorers along the coast of what is now the State of
Oregon were Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese in the service
of Spain, and his chief pilot Bartolome Ferrelo, who are believed to
have sailed up from Mexico as far as 44° north in 1542-3. About the
same latitude was reached in 1579 by Sir Francis Drake, who there
abandoned his search for a northern passage to England and turned the
prow of his Golden Hind southward. Whether the Spanish navigator
Sebastian Viscaino sailed farther north than the 42nd parallel on his
voyage of 1602 is a moot question, though one of his ships under Martin
d'Aguilar proceeded another degree or two northward and reported the
entrance to a river or strait not far from Cape Blanco.

A century and three-quarters elapsed before further discoveries of
importance were made. The Spaniards Perez in 1774, Heceta on two
voyages in 1774 and 1775, and Bodega in 1775 sailed along all or most
of the present Oregon coast, and on his second voyage Heceta noted
evidences of a great river in the northern region. In 1778 the English
navigator Captain James Cook, seeking (as Drake had sought) a north-
ern sea passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, reached from the south
what is now Vancouver Island and anchored for several weeks in a fine
harbor to which he later gave the name of Nootka Sound. Here he
traded with the Indians for furs", and learned much about their life and
customs.

Ten years later another Englishman, Captain John Meares, fitted out
a naval expedition in search of the great river that Heceta had reported
in 1775. Entering the broad mouth of the present Columbia, he de-
cided that this was no more than a large bay and departed after naming
the entrance Deception Bay and the promontory on the north Cape Dis-
appointment. It remained for an American sea captain and trader,
Robert Gray of Boston, to verify the existence of the hitherto legendary
"River of the West." In company with Captain John Kendrick, Gray
made a trading voyage to the Pacific in 1788; and the two ships com-
manded by these men, the Columbia and the Lady Washington, were